The European Union (EU) is investing in smart grid technology, and Miguel Arias Caete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, explained how important it will be for the future of the EU. Arias Caete presented his statement at the InnoGrid 2020+ conference in Brussels.
"Europe's energy landscape is changing fast," the EU said in a statement. "Today, renewables account for 25 percent of the EU's electricity supply and this level could rise to 50 percent by 2030. Variable renewables require more grid flexibility, new approaches, new technologies and new markets. Meanwhile, consumers need to be at the heart of the EU's internal energy market to control their energy consumption and make personal energy decisions to lower their bills."
Arias Caete explained that smart grids can keep infrastructure costs and energy bills low, as well as using renewable energy to a maximum benefit. Consumers will also play a big role in EU's internal energy market before they can see any benefits -- including taking control of consumption to lower their bills.
"We know that smart grids work. We have seen that they can reduce the infrastructure capacity needed to meet demand by up to 30 percent," Arias Caete said, adding the EU understands there are a number of hurdles to overcome before the smart grid can achieve its full potential.
European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic also spoke at the conference, and said that "Smart grids should become Europe's shale gas," according to Reuters. But that change won't come quickly, and Sefcovic explained the amount of work to be done is "staggering."
Arias Caete explained that he believes three things will need to happen before modern grids can be built: smart policies for smart grids; smart solutions for smart grids -- including investment into innovation of technology; and smart financing for smart grids -- up to 400 billion by 2020.
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